[ d e e p P u r . p l e ) The Highway Star

Review of the DP concert in Berlin Wuhlheide 22.06.1999

It was actually the first Deep Purple concert I've seen, and it was really great. The concert took place at "Parkbühne Wuhlheide", in the middle of a big forest park. There were places for about 19000 people, but there came only about 10000 to see the show, most likely because promotion was not really good, in Berlin there were about 50 "Kelly Family" pictures for one Deep Purple picture, not a good promotion (although that made it possible to get right in front of the band, I was only 5m away and could see them really good. I've taken a few pictures, but don't know yet if they are good...). Interesting was, that around 10% were under 18, me (16) included. Compared to many (if not all) modern bands, Deep Purple are simply better.
We could enter the area at 6 o' clock, and rushed to get a good place in front of the stage. The supporting act started half an hour late at 19.30, and they were for the most: loud! Nothing really what you would remember afterwards, I have not remembered their name (they had two guitarists, a drummer, a keyboard player, while the vocalist played bass). They played for around an hour, a few songs in German and English, in a style that was a bit of a mixture between Guano Apes and Oasis (maybe a bad comparision, I know).
But after they stopped playing, we had to wait a bit until Deep Purple came on stage at around 8.30. Here we got the first surprise, that Ian Gillan had short hair. PLEASE, DON'T KEEP THEM LIKE THIS. He looked a bit like Tony Marshall, and that is not a person worth to be compared with. But, apart from his hairstyle, Ian was really good, so the hairstyle is not fitting to his qualities.

They started playing an intro I didn't know (possibly the same as in the concerts before), and changed after half an minute to "Pictures of Home". The song has always been one of my favourites, and they played it good. Unfortunately, the crowd was not responding too much at the beginning, as the place was not filled completely. Purple also got better from song to song.

Unfortunately I cannot remember anything, but I think the setlist was the same as before. After a somewhat quiet start, the concert began to turn out really great, after Purple played "Woman from Tokyo". One of my favourites, it did not include much new, but was great. After that, one song got better than the next one. It is a fact, no matter how good the new songs were, that most people only wanted to hear the old ones. As highlights, I also can remember "Space Truckin'", "Strange kind of Woman", "Lazy" and, of course, "Smoke on the Water". I still think this is the best rock song ever written (ok, please accept my opinion), and Steve Morse did play it very well, together with everyone in the audience who shouted the text. But I think that Steve should get a new intro, it was long with a lot of different songs before. That's ok, but it still sounds a bit as "Live at the Olympia", and I was able to identify the song before it had begun. Anyway, Steve did a very good job, I think he is comparable to Blackmore, and he fits really good into Purple.

Last but not least, they played "Speed King", and, as the encores, "Black Night" and "Highway Star". After 2 hours, they stopped playing and left an enthusiastic audience. Maybe it was not the best concert ever, but it was a really good one, and it was worth every single mark I had paid for it. I think the only thing they should have played, but didn't, was "Child in Time". The audience claimed it, but they did not play it.
We left the scene at 11 o'clock, and I hope that I will be able to see them again, hopefully the band stays together for many years from now on.

Michael Söchtig

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